October 23, 2003
Digest: A judge whose photograph appeared in a charity’s fund raising brochure without authorization should register his/her objection in writing to the charity.
Rule: 22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(3)(iv); Opinion 96-21 (Vol. XV).
This inquiry seeks the Committee’s opinion on the proper response where the inquiring judge’s photograph was employed without authorization by a charity in a brochure soliciting contributions.
The judge and the judge’s spouse, a Red Cross official, were photographed and the photograph was to be used in an educational brochure. A separate local charity obtained the photograph from the Red Cross and placed it in its solicitation brochure.
The judge complained to the local charity’s official and states that distribution of the brochure was halted “until we receive some direction from [the Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics.]”
The judge recognizes that the prohibition on fund-raising solicitation includes use of the judge’s name or photograph for such purposes. 22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(3)(iv); Opinion 96-21 (Vol. XV). Therefore, any use or distribution of the judge’s name or photograph for solicitation purposes should be objected to by the judge. This is what occurred.
Accordingly, it is sufficient that the judge objected to the use of the photograph and it is suggested that such objection be memorialized in writing to the local charity. This Committee, however, has no authority to advise or direct the local charity with respect to its actions in this matter.